As I have never had my camera cleaned for one reason or another, I decided that it was time to just go ahead and get it done. I went to the Canon Service Center in Shinjuku as I already knew where it was and I had heard good things about the service. The staff were very friendly and some spoke English as well as Japanese (as I speak Japanese fairly well this was not a big feature for me but it could be very useful to those who don’t speak Japanese). When I asked the staff about cleaning, they informed me that it was ¥1050 to have the low pass filter on the CMOS cleaned. That sounded pretty reasonable to me so I pushed my luck and asked them to take a look ate the mirror box, focus screen and focus overlay. They happily said they would do their best and noted it on the service request form. Barring any unforeseen difficulties, they informed me that it would take about an hour to get it cleaned. I wandered off to check out Shinjuku for an hour while my camera got the spa treatment.
As I had no phone call informing me of issues that needed more time, I headed back to the service center to get my camera on the hour. They informed me that the sensory cleaning went well, and that they had done some other cleaning for me as well. I looked through the viewfinder into the ceiling lights and white ceiling and wow! Not only had they cleaned my low pass filter, they had completely cleaned the viewfinder, focus screen and done a really good job on the focus overlay. In addition to that they had cleaned both the display and the settings screen on the exterior. I could not detect more than two tiny dust specs anywhere in the viewfinder compared to the large amount of visible dust that has been there for over 2 years, and even the two remaining dust specs are not in the focus area. I happily paid the fee and walked away with a camera that feels new. Clean at last!
Now the obvious question here is: Why did I wait for 2.5 years to clean my camera when it was around $10, made it like-new, and only took an hour? The truth is I have not really been in Japan much in the last two years, nor did I live in a large enough city in Canada to have an official Canon Service Center handy. If you are going to visit Japan, even as a tourist, and you do have a spare camera/body, I would really recommend getting your camera cleaned while you visit. It is well worth the hour.
The Canon Service Centers in Japan are listed here, albeit it only in Japanese. If you can’t read Japanese, please feel free to ask me to check for a centre near you in the comments.